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Kanaka Ghosalkar

Abstract Drama Others


4  

Kanaka Ghosalkar

Abstract Drama Others


Fries and Burger (Part I)

Fries and Burger (Part I)

4 mins 204 4 mins 204

 

They say this about praying, that when you pray for someone else it's better than when you pray for yourself.

For one moment Junaid held his Ammi’s hands and let out a sigh. She was out of danger. The doctors said that she would have to be kept in the ICU for another five days for observation. Post that she would be shifted to the general ward and in about another one or two days she would be discharged.

 

In his mind’s eye, Junaid thanked Abu chacha whom he had given the money to visit Mecca to pray for his mother. He eagerly awaited his return so that he could meet him and thank him personally. 

Abu chacha was only an acquaintance and while Junaid had saved some amount of his monthly pocket money to be able to fund his travel to the haj, an untimely accident that challenged his mother’s survival had forced him to cancel his trip.

Junaid was the only son of Shakeela Bano, a construction laborer, who worked hard for educating her son and making him an able person. Junaid too was very responsible. At 12 years of age, he was working at the construction site in the morning before he went to school. He would then attend school and come back home, quickly have the food prepared by his mother in the morning, and then rush to Rahim chacha’s thela.

 

In the 1970s, Abdulla Rahim Khan was a renamed personality in the port city of Dongri. He owned multiple businesses in the area and operated with the help of many young, needy boys like Junaid. There were other resources too, but those were more monetary in nature. But, as regards manpower, he had a strength of about 200 boys at his disposal.

Amidst the different commercial schemes that Rahim Khan was involved in, a library, an Irani restaurant, an agency for providing skilled laborers for home and building repairs, there was also a tea stall. Rahim chacha and others referred to it as the ‘thela’ though...

This was a time when life was simple. Simple meaning, simple… People were happy with two basic meals a day. They worked hard for what they wanted and slept well at night. It was nothing like the revolution that the city of Mumbai has undergone in the last decade or so. A revolution that has changed the basic value of things... I chose to call it the Fries and Burger revolution... 

 

In the time that I am referring to, there lived a community. They called themselves ‘Survivors’. But wait… why am I telling you this story? It’s not as if Superman asked me for a cup of coffee or something… that I have lost my mind … Even if he did, I really don’t know what my response would be? Maybe I’ll say, “Okay… Only if we are going to CCD…” 

I am sure after listening to this even Superman will bang his head on the wall… He’ll be like… “Does she even realize that I am Superman?”

 

Anyways...think about it...the vada pav that we used to get for a humble 2 and a half to at the most four rupees is now sold as the fashionable burger for 50 in the name of food globalization. Nothing wrong with that. I love burgers. But what irks me is this sense of scandalous imitation in the name of being progressive or adapting the western culture. Everything is good when it is within its own limits and when used with a sense of sensibility... Really...

Don’t get me wrong... There’s nothing wrong with western culture. But why are we imitating them only as per our convenience? I mean look at it. It didn’t take us much time to build crazy malls which are literally unnecessary, or, establish food franchises; the food from which is not suitable for our built and body composition, but it’s taken us the corona pandemic to revise our health infrastructure policy in the annual budget. Isn’t it ironic? I mean... as much as I respected the really smart and crisp budget allocations made last year, I can’t help but think why it took us so long?

If I have to state facts, between the Dahisar and Andheri area in Mumbai, the distance between which can be covered in approximately 40 mins provided there is no road traffic, there are roughly 15 malls (huge departmental stores) included. Do we really need them? These places are more of a relaxation and outing kind of place for the youngsters. But if you look at it, they are occupying so much place... 

 

The place where maybe some rehabilitation slums could have been developed. But wait...this is the 25-year-old cocky version of me that is speaking. Because today I know that sometimes even the slum dwellers rent out the accommodation provided to them making more slums and continue to live there. The problem seems to be circular and unending and maybe I am no one to demand a change. But you know what, I want to... 


But that's not what this story is all about. This story is about Junaid and, Junaid...


 


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